Ex-Cas­ca­di­an chief Scott My­ers lands at Bio­Clin; Ko­di­ak woos Genen­tech vet Ja­son Ehrlich for CMO role

Scott My­ers

Scott My­ers and Julie East­land, two of the top ex­ecs head­ed out as Cas­ca­di­an Ther­a­peu­tics got ab­sorbed in­to Seat­tle Ge­net­ics, have both set­tled at Bio­Clin Ther­a­peu­tics. Stay­ing in fa­mil­iar roles, My­ers has been named CEO while East­land is CFO and chief busi­ness of­fi­cer. My­ers, who pre­vi­ous­ly held man­age­ment po­si­tions at UCB and J&J be­fore tak­ing the helm of a med­ical de­vice com­pa­ny, suc­ceeds Bio­Clin founder Stephen Lau. The ap­point­ments are an­nounced as the San Le­an­dro, CA-based biotech is gear­ing up for reg­is­tra­tional tri­als of its lead com­pound, vo­fa­tam­ab (B-701).

→ De­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease spe­cial­ist Bi­o­Time $BTX has tapped Bri­an Cul­ley as its new CEO, tak­ing up a role pre­vi­ous­ly shared by Adi Mo­han­ty and Michael West. Cul­ley helmed Mast Ther­a­peu­tics for sev­en years be­fore a failed lead pro­gram dragged it down and left it with lit­tle op­tion oth­er than serv­ing as a shell for Savara’s re­verse merg­er. West will now move on­to the chief ex­ec­u­tive role at AgeX, a Bi­o­Time af­fil­i­ate fo­cused on age-re­lat­ed de­gen­er­a­tive ail­ments.

Vanes­sa King

→ Ex­pe­ri­enced biotech vet Vanes­sa King has tak­en the CEO job at Lon­don-based Viri­on Bio­ther­a­peu­tics, build­ing on a par­ti­cle tech plat­form to fo­cus on res­pi­ra­to­ry dis­ease. King had been CEO at Luc Ther­a­peu­tics and ear­li­er worked the busi­ness de­vel­op­ment side of the ta­ble for de­CODE, be­fore Am­gen bought out the com­pa­ny. Is­abel Na­jera was al­so named as the com­pa­ny’s chief sci­en­tif­ic of­fi­cer.

→ Por­to­la $PT­LA has turned to an ex­pe­ri­enced com­mer­cial ex­ec for its new CEO. Scott Gar­land is join­ing the com­pa­ny from Re­lyp­sa, where he was pres­i­dent. Ear­li­er Gar­land had been an EVP at Ex­elix­is and has a re­sume that in­cludes a stint at Genen­tech.

→ Just days af­ter map­ping out a com­pet­i­tive strat­e­gy for its oph­thal­mol­o­gy drug in a $100 mil­lion IPO fil­ing, Ko­di­ak Sci­ences says it’s brought in Genen­tech vet Ja­son Ehrlich as chief med­ical and de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer. As glob­al head of clin­i­cal oph­thal­mol­o­gy at the big biotech, Ehrlich was a lead clin­i­cian for Lu­cen­tis — one of the cur­rent an­ti-VEGF drugs that Ko­di­ak has set out to beat. Al­so new to the com­pa­ny are Al­mas Qudrat, VP of qual­i­ty op­er­a­tions, and Pablo Ve­lazquez-Mar­tin, who will over­see clin­i­cal re­search and trans­la­tion­al med­i­cine.

Wladimir (Vlad) Hogen­huis is the new — and first — chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer at Ul­tragenyx $RARE, join­ing a team that’s ea­ger to re­al­ize block­buster am­bi­tions for its grow­ing port­fo­lio of rare dis­ease drugs. A long­time Mer­ck ex­ec, Hogen­huis spent the last six years at Glax­o­SmithK­line in a range of com­mer­cial and op­er­a­tional ca­pac­i­ties. That kind of all-round­ed ex­per­tise, Ul­tragenyx CEO Emil Kakkis says, will serve the com­pa­ny well for “many years to come.”

Jared Gol­lob

→ Fresh off the his­toric ap­provals of Al­ny­lam’s first RNAi drug, long­time staffer Jared Gol­lob has jumped ship to pur­sue an­oth­er “new fron­tier in drug dis­cov­ery” — pro­tein degra­da­tion. As CMO at Cam­bridge, MA-based Kymera, Gol­lob is tasked with ad­vanc­ing prod­uct can­di­dates for can­cer, au­toim­mune and in­flam­ma­to­ry dis­eases iden­ti­fied by the com­pa­ny’s plat­form, all of which are still in the pre­clin­i­cal stage.

Na­tal­ie Sacks is part­ing ways with Aduro Biotech $ADRO af­ter serv­ing as its chief med­ical of­fi­cer for two years. Sacks’ tenure at the can­cer im­munother­a­py com­pa­ny was marked by a rocky clin­i­cal jour­ney with the can­cer vac­cine CRS-207, which lived through a par­tial hold but was ul­ti­mate­ly scrapped for dis­ap­point­ing ef­fi­ca­cy. There’s no im­me­di­ate word on Sacks’ next steps af­ter she of­fi­cial­ly leaves on Oc­to­ber 1.

Melin­ta Ther­a­peu­tics $ML­NT has ap­point­ed Pe­ter Mil­li­gan as the suc­ces­sor to CFO Paul Es­trem, who is re­tir­ing af­ter lead­ing the an­tibi­otics biotech through the re­verse merg­er with Cem­pra and the ac­qui­si­tion of The Med­i­cines Com­pa­ny’s in­fec­tious dis­ease unit. Mil­li­gan joins from gener­ics phar­ma G&W Lab­o­ra­to­ries, where he had the same role.

Ja­cob Chacko has re­cruit­ed a for­mer Igny­ta col­league to his team at Oric Phar­ma. Pratik Mul­tani, who used to be CMO of the Roche-ac­quired biotech, will as­sume the same po­si­tion in Oric and im­me­di­ate be­gin steer­ing lead drug ORIC-101 in­to the clin­ic. “De­spite many new ther­a­pies, re­sis­tance re­mains a sig­nif­i­cant bar­ri­er to im­proved out­comes in most pa­tients with ad­vanced can­cers, and ORIC is at the fore­front of work to ad­dress that chal­lenge, be­gin­ning with the glu­co­cor­ti­coid re­cep­tor an­tag­o­nist and con­tin­u­ing with the rest of the pipeline,” he said in a state­ment.

→ Fol­low­ing a stint as head of biotech in­vest­ment bank­ing at RBC Cap­i­tal Mar­kets, Shane Ko­vacs is back in the front lines of biotech as chief busi­ness and fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of Blue­Rock Ther­a­peu­tics. This would mark his sec­ond for­ay in­to biotech since leav­ing Cred­it Su­isse in 2013, the first be­ing at PTC Ther­a­peu­tics. Found­ed by Ver­sant Ven­tures and backed by Bay­er, Blue­Rock is de­vel­op­ing cell ther­a­pies for re­gen­er­a­tive use.

Am­gen vet and for­mer Kite Phar­ma ex­ec An­tho­ny Polveri­no has joined Zymeworks $ZYME as CSO and EVP of ear­ly de­vel­op­ment, tak­ing a cen­tral role in dri­ving the R&D strat­e­gy for an am­bi­tious team de­vel­op­ing “mul­ti­func­tion­al ther­a­peu­tics”.

No­var­tis spin­out resTOR­bio $TORC has hired sea­soned com­mer­cial ex­ec Mered­ith Man­ning as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer. Hav­ing worked in mar­ket­ing, prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and oth­er strate­gic roles across Pfiz­er, Ver­tex, Bax­ter and Shire, she is now ex­pect­ed to pave a way for resTOR­bio’s an­ti-ag­ing ther­a­pies.

Syned­gen has brought in Kaveri Park­er to lead busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and com­mer­cial­iza­tion of its gly­comics tech plat­form, which aims to treat in­flam­ma­to­ry and in­fec­tious dis­eases by tar­get­ing mu­cos­al in­ter­faces. The new chief busi­ness of­fi­cer was most re­cent­ly pres­i­dent and CEO of a di­ag­nos­tics com­pa­ny called ID Ge­nomics.

→ MPM-backed Har­poon Ther­a­peu­tics has tapped Chris Whit­more, alum­ni of an­oth­er im­muno-on­col­o­gy com­pa­ny called Im­mune De­sign, as VP of fi­nance. Con­cur­rent­ly, Seat­tle Ge­net­ics’ for­mer CMO Jonathan Drach­man has joined their board.

MedTech clinical trials require a unique regulatory and study design approach and so engaging a highly experienced CRO to ensure compliance and accurate data across all stages is critical to development milestones.

In­no­v­a­tive MedTech De­mands Spe­cial­ist Clin­i­cal Tri­al Reg­u­la­to­ry Af­fairs and De­sign

Avance Clinical is the Australian CRO for international biotechs providing world-class clinical research services with FDA-accepted data across all phases. With Avance Clinical, biotech companies can leverage Australia’s supportive clinical trials environment which includes no IND requirement plus a 43.5% Government incentive rebate on clinical spend. The CRO has been delivering clinical drug development services for international biotechs for FDA and EMA regulatory approval for the past 24 years. The company has been recognized for the past two consecutive years with the prestigious Frost & Sullivan CRO Best Practices Award and a finalist in Informa Pharma’s Best CRO award for 2022.

Mathai Mammen (Rob Tannenbaum, Endpoints News at BIO 2018)

Math­ai Mam­men makes an abrupt ex­it as head of the big R&D group at J&J

In an after-the-bell shocker, J&J announced Monday evening that Mathai Mammen has abruptly exited J&J as head of its top-10 R&D group.

Recruited from Merck five years ago, where the soft-spoken Mammen was being groomed as the successor to Roger Perlmutter, he had been one of the top-paid R&D chiefs in biopharma. His group spent $12 billion last year on drug development, putting it in the top 5 in the industry.

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Amid mas­sive re­struc­tur­ing, Bio­gen looks to re­duce phys­i­cal pres­ence in Boston

Biogen is putting a sizable chunk of office and research space in Kendall Square and Weston, MA up for sublease, marking another big change as the biotech grapples with the aftershock of a disastrous and controversial rollout for its Alzheimer’s drug.

The company calls it “part of Biogen’s overall implementation of the ‘Future of Work,’ which is allowing us to optimize our footprint and reduce the amount of space we occupy, taking into consideration new elements such as the hybrid work model,” the Boston Globe reported, quoting a spokesperson.

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Robert Califf, FDA commissioner (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Hop­ing to ex­pand mon­key­pox vac­cine sup­ply, US paves the way for new route of ad­min­is­tra­tion

After making it clear that the US’ current monkeypox vaccine supply is insufficient, the FDA on Tuesday authorized a new route of administration that should increase the number of available doses by five-fold.

Regulators cleared Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos vaccine for intradermal injection in adults older than 18. Unlike subcutaneous injection — the current method by which vaccine is delivered under the skin — an intradermal jab goes directly into the skin. It’s believed that this method requires less vaccine, since the dermis is rich in dendritic cells which specialize in taking up foreign antigens and presenting them to the immune system, according to Daniel Kuritzkes, chief of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

John Quisel, Disc Medicine CEO

Disc Med­i­cine goes pub­lic in re­verse merg­er with strug­gling Gem­i­ni Ther­a­peu­tics

After licensing a failed Roche schizophrenia drug last year, Disc Medicine is going public via a reverse merger with Gemini Therapeutics.

The combined company, while still named Disc Medicine, will trade under the stock symbol $IRON, in reference to Disc’s lineup of therapies for blood iron disorders. Alongside the merger, Disc has secured $53.5 million in another financing round, building on the $90 million Series B it raised in September.

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Illustration: Kim Ryu for Endpoints News

Why non-opi­oid pain drugs keep fail­ing — and what's next for the field

In 1938, Rita Levi-Montalcini was forced to move her lab into her bedroom in Turin, as Mussolini’s facist government expelled Jewish people from studying or working in schools in Italy. Levi-Montalcini, then just a few years out of medical school and using sewing needles as scalpels in her makeshift lab, would soon discover nerve growth factor, or NGF, in chicken embryos.

Her discoveries formed the basis of our understanding of the peripheral nervous system and how cells talk to each other, and Levi-Montalcini went on to win the Nobel Prize in 1986. Much later, NGF was hailed as a promising target for new pain therapies, with some analysts quoting an $11 billion market. However, the latest anti-NGF candidate, Pfizer and Eli Lilly’s tanezumab, was rejected by the FDA last year because of a side effect that dissolved bone in some of its patients.

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Samantha Du, Zai Lab CEO

Any­one still look­ing for a CD47? Zai Lab shelves PhI pro­gram af­ter re­view­ing 'com­pet­i­tive land­scape'

Over the past few years, the promise of blocking CD47 — a “don’t eat me” signal co-opted by cancer cells — has sent drugmakers big and small into a frenzy. But one biotech is now bowing out.

Zai Lab is deprioritizing ZL-1201, its CD47 inhibitor, scrapping plans for a Phase II trial. It will now “pursue out-licensing opportunities,” the company said in its Q2 update. The decision was based on a review of the competitive landscape, it added, without going into further details.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra (Patrick Semansky/AP Images)

US weighs new route of ad­min­is­tra­tion for mon­key­pox vac­cine as cas­es climb — re­port

Less than a week after HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra declared monkeypox a national health emergency, reports have emerged that the US plans to extend its vaccine supply by opting for a different route of administration.

Officials are expected to call for intradermal injection of Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos vaccine — the only shot approved specifically for monkeypox in the US — as opposed to subcutaneous injection, unnamed sources told both the New York Times and Washington Post on Tuesday.

'Messy at best': Is the US re­peat­ing the same Covid mis­steps with mon­key­pox mes­sag­ing?

When Kyle Planck first suspected he might have monkeypox in late June, he went to the CDC website and found six photos of different types of lesions. And that was about it for general public information.

Planck, who is a sixth-year PhD pharmacology researcher at Weill Cornell, kept looking though and found a separate part of the CDC website meant for healthcare professionals. There he found a medical slide deck with more pictures, professional journal articles and more details about symptoms and diagnosis.

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